The Sims 4 was released on September 2, 2014, making it five years old today. Previous games in the franchise have only had a lifespan of five years: The Sims was released in 2000, followed by The Sims 2 in 2004, and The Sims 3 in 2009. However, the Sims team said that they still have years of content planned for The Sims 4.
The sheer amount of content available for The Sims 4 makes it a pretty daunting franchise to enter into. There are currently 7 expansion packs, 7 game packs, and 15 stuff packs available for game, with a new game pack releasing next week. For comparison, The Sims 3 had 11 expansions and 9 stuff packs, while The Sims 2 offered 8 expansions and 10 stuff packs. The Sims had 7 expansion packs by the end of its lifespan.
Needless to say, I thought I’d pick my top 5 Sims 4 packs to help anyone looking to expand their collection. I’ll be listing these from the perspective of how much I like the content and how often I use it in my day-to-day Simming. I’ll include links to my reviews of all the packs at the end, in case you want to know more about the other 24 packs that didn’t make it into my top five!
With 29 packs out so far, there’s a lot of content to choose from, and restricting my list to just five was difficult. Some honorable mentions that didn’t make the cut include the Cats and Dogs expansion (a must if you like playing with, well, cats and/or dogs), as well as the City Living and Get Famous expansions. The StrangerVille game pack introduced an interesting new story-driven concept, but because of this, a lot of the content is tied to the town and story of StrangerVille, which you probably won’t want to play through again after you’ve solved the mystery. Dine Out is great if running your own restaurant appeals to you.
I haven’t mentioned any stuff packs here because of their limited gameplay content. Laundry Day Stuff‘s addition of laundry options is pretty nice, but for the most part, whether you want a stuff pack in your collection is going to be based on whether you like the items included. Some of my personal favourite stuff packs include Romantic Garden Stuff, Spooky Stuff, and Luxury Party Stuff.
5. Outdoor Retreat
Reminiscent of the various vacation-themed packs from previous Sims games, the Outdoor Retreat game pack added a small world that Sims could visit for a holiday. Unlike previous takes on this theme, however, going on vacation doesn’t cause The Sims 4 to crash (sadly, this was a recurring issue for me with taking Sims on vacation in Sims 1, 2 and 3). Outdoor Retreat added a host of camping-related items, a new skill, and various fun activities, many of which can be enjoyed without taking your Sims on holiday.
4. Get to Work
The first expansion pack for The Sims 4 still feels like one of the meatiest in terms of content and things to do. Get to Work introduced three active careers, aliens, and player run retail stores. While the active careers can be time consuming to play and a little bit repetitive, you can send your Sims to work alone for those days when you need a break. The scientist career in particular introduces some pretty cool inventions and fun objects to build that super secret lair under your Sims’ house.
Occult Sims in The Sims 4 have been something of a hit and miss. Aliens and mermaids are not particularly interesting apart from their physical appearance and handful of unique interactions and abilities. However, in the Vampires pack, the Sims team created an RPG-like system of powers and upgrades, allowing every vampire to feel different and special. If you’re a fan of vampires, this pack will likely be a must have. The unique physical options available to vampires, and the dramatic fashion and hairstyles from this pack are just icing on the cake.
The Sims 3 Generations was a favourite of mine because it added a lot of family interactions. The Parenthood game pack for Sims 4 took this a step further, introducing special traits that Sim parents can encourage in their children, which will eventually help them later in their lives. It also added a ton of new interactions and activities for toddlers, children and teens, age groups that I feel are often neglected in other packs. I consider Parenthood a must-have for players who enjoy family or generational play.
Weather-themed packs have been among my favourites since The Sims 2, and The Sims 4 Seasons is no exception. For me, no other pack has as much impact on the day to day lives of my Sims, even if that impact is just some weather effects. Different seasons mean different weather, a welcome reprieve from the ‘sunny all day, every day’ default weather conditions, as well as different temperatures and outfits to match both the extreme hot or cold. The Sims 4 version of this pack also introduced the new calendar system, allowing Sims to plan and enjoy holiday celebrations of varying kinds. Each season and each type of holiday brings unique activities and interactions, making Seasons my favourite Sims 4 pack to date.
The rest: Expansions: Get Together, Island Living. Game Packs: Spa Day, Jungle Adventure. Stuff Packs: Perfect Patio, Cool Kitchen, Movie Hangout, Kids Room, Backyard, Vintage Glamour, Bowling Night, Fitness, Toddler, My First Pet, Moschino.